Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

MY LIFE IN SONDHEIM'S WORDS is a cabaret masterpiece, quite on-brand for Jeff Harnar.

When you are sitting in a room, watching Jeff Harnar engaged in the act of performing a show, it is difficult not to find yourself thinking that he is the best in the business, difficult to think that there is anyone else who understands the art form of cabaret better. Obviously, it isn't true because there are any number of artists currently working in the cabaret and concert industry who are great performers that understand the craft to which they apply their skills. But when you are sitting and watching Jeff Harnar perform a show of his creation, it is mostly impossible to think of anyone else or to think of anyone else being quite so good as he is.

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Recently, Jeff Harnar finished a run of shows at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. The program, I KNOW THINGS NOW: MY LIFE IN SONDHEIM'S WORDS is the latest in a long line of cabaret shows created by Mr. Harnar - shows with a theme, shows with a perspective, and shows with an immaculate script created to take the audience on a journey. These shows, starting with CARRIED AWAY, the musical cabaret that made Jeff Harnar a star a scant four (ish) decades ago, have a shape, they have a format, they have a mood that isn't really new, indeed, they are shows built on the foundation of the cabaret plays presented in downtown clubs in the Fifties, the Sixties, and the Seventies. But when Jeff Harnar sat down to create Carried Away, and every show he has created since, he must have asked himself what would be most authentic to who he is, and, having found it, he has stayed in that lane ever since. It's working for him, so there is no reason for Mr. Harnar to change lanes: whether working as a solo artist or alongside chums like KT Sullivan and Shauna Hicks, a Jeff Harnar show always feels like a Jeff Harnar show. It always feels fresh, it always feels innovative, it always feels unique to the Harnar brand. A person buying a ticket to a Jeff Harnar show can count on quality entertainment, and they can count on being surprised by the art being created, before their very eyes. But with the musical cabaret I Know Things Now, Jeff Harnar has raised his bar to a height heretofore unattained. Jeff Harnar, sitting down to create this Sondheim tribute show, had a goal to best everything he has ever done, and he has succeeded. Factually speaking, whether or not he can best this bar, moving forward, will be an interesting journey to watch. This writer is willing to bet on the horse, but it will take a Herculean effort because I Know Things Now: My Life In Sondheim's Words defines cabaret, it defines what cabaret can be, and it defines the work to which every person presuming to set foot into the industry should aspire.

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Working alongside Musical Director Jon Weber, Jeff Harnar took a handful of songs by Stephen Sondheim, tore them up, threw them into the air, and where the pieces landed, he built a Jenga of Words that would tell his very personal story. Heaven knows how long it took these musical partners to put all the pieces together but when they did they made a brand-new Sondheim musical with a story that, while personal to Harnar, is most likely relatable to just about anyone to witness the show... at some point or another. Even though Harnar speaks to the audience at the top of the show, by way of welcoming them and introducing Weber, his story is a play. Once the welcome speech is concluded, Mr. Harnar is in character and in performance. Every word sung, every sentence formulated, every interaction with the audience is designed for the purpose of telling the story. Deliciously theatrical, the piece is never (not once, not at any time) self-conscious, coy, or cringey: Harnar knows how to tell the story in ways subdued and ways over-the-top, and he hurls himself into every moment with the expertise and enthusiasm of a genuine professional. His is a tour-de-force performance that causes his masterpiece of a script to come to life before our very eyes. In reimagined arrangements that bust open our previous congress with the works of Sondheim, Weber and Harnar inspire awe. The audience member will revel in the moment when one sentence, three words, or just a musical phrase from Weber's piano insinuates into a song from which they did not originate; it often feels so natural that a person might be inclined to miss it... until they realize that it was there, where it had previously not been, and where we never dreamed it might work. Through the impeccable sung-through script, Harnar's take-no-prisoners acting, Weber's omnipresent support, and Sondra Lee's discernible direction, I Know Things Now provides the audiences with entertainment that doesn't just engage because of the quality of the written works and the excellence of the onstage performing - it gets our attention because it is exciting, in all of the young and old. We know these songs. We know these sentences. We know these emotions. We thought we knew these songs. We thought we knew these sentences. We thought we knew these emotions. Jeff Harnar had other ideas. He wrote them down. He and Weber (working alongside bassist Steve Doyle and drummer Ray Marchica) worked their deconstructing magic, and what we are left with is a thing of wonder, a show of powerful storytelling, and one of the best nights of cabaret likely to be found right now - unforgettable, impeccable, and completely original.

The show.

And Jeff Harnar.

I didn't know him, but I would like to think Stephen Sondheim would have approved. I Know Things Now honors the late Maestro in the best ways possible: new art and great storytelling.

Jeff Harnar I KNOW THINGS NOW: MY LIFE IN SONDHEIM'S WORDS can be followed on the Jeff Harnar website HERE.

This run of shows of I Know Things Now coincides with the release of Jeff Harnar's album by the same name. Read the Broadway World Cabaret review of the album HERE and find it on all digital platforms. CDs are available on the Jeff Harnar website HERE.

The Laurie Beechman Theatre has a website HERE.

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre

Review: Jeff Harnar Knows Cabaret And It Shows In I KNOW THINGS NOW at The Laurie Beechman Theatre Photos by Stephen Mosher


Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid Cabaret fan in NYC? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here.





From This Author - Stephen Mosher

Stephen Mosher is the author of The Sweater Book (a collection of his photography featuring celebrated artists from the entertainment communities of New York, Los Angeles, and London), Lived In Crazy... (read more about this author)


Review: Jenn Gambatese Illuminates With NO ONE IS ALONE: PERSPECTIVES OF HOPE FROM HAMMERSTEIN TO SONDHEIM at 54 Below
August 9, 2022

Jenn Gambatese invited her besties to use music and truth to talk about hope and rising above the din of life and the business of show.

Photos: Matt Baker Lenses August 2nd THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Theater
August 8, 2022

Karen Mason stopped by The Lineup last week and Matt Baker caught her and all the action through his lens.

Review: 54 DOES 54: THE 54 BELOW STAFF SHOW at 54 Below Welcomes New Faces And Bids Bustamante Bye Bye
August 8, 2022

It was all-hands on deck as the 54 Below team puts on a play.

10 Videos To Welcome Tony Winner Matt Doyle Back To The Concert Stage With NEW YORK SUMMER at Chelsea Table + Stage
August 6, 2022

Matt Doyle has a new show coming to the nightclub stages of New York and Broadway World Cabaret is collecting videos to get everyone ready for the debut of his new act.

Review: AN EVENING WITH ORFEH & ANDY KARL Leaves Chelsea Table + Stage Audience Crazy From Heart
August 5, 2022

Chelsea Table + Stage has the hot music stars in a cool setting. Enter Orfeh and Andy Karl.